Libyan rebels take back oil towns Brega and Ras Lanuf with the help of air strike coalition 2703113
Defense News - The conflict in Libya
Sunday, March 27, 2011, 03:54 PM
Libyan rebels take back oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf with the help of air strike coalition.
Libyan rebels have entered the key oil town of Ras Lanuf after routing Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Brega with help from UN-backed air strikes that tipped the balance away from the military.
Brega, the main oil export terminal in eastern Libya, fell after a skirmish late on Saturday, and rebels continued their push westwards to Ras Lanuf and its large oil refinery. "There is no Gaddafi army in Ras Lanuf," said Walid al-Arabi, a rebel fighter.
The advance continued today as rebels took control of the town of Bin Jawad and said they planned to push on towards Gaddafi's stronghold of Sirte. More than two dozen rebel trucks were seen going into the town centre, Reuters reported. The rebels now have regained control of the major oil terminals in the east of the country.
French warplanes destroyed five Libyan military aircraft at an airbase in Misrata. Britain’s defence ministry said Tornado GR4 planes hit Libyan targets in both Misrata and Ajdabiya.
According to an American military spokesperson, the coalition fired 16 Tomahawk cruise missiles and flew 153 sorties in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday morning.
A T-72 tank of the Libyan army destroyed by the coalition air strike in Ajdabiyah
Libyan rebels fighting Muammar Gaddafi's regime on Sunday recaptured Bin Jawad, a hamlet 50 kilometres west of the key oil town of Ras Lanuf, AFP correspondents reported.
The rebels said they took advantage of French air strikes on Bin Jawad at 9:00 am (0700 GMT, 3pm Singapore time) that destroyed several tanks, the wreckages of which were seen on a road.
Coalition forces flew 160 sorties, or military flights, over Libya, including 96 designed to strike targets on the ground, according to the Pentagon. Since the Libyan operation began more than a week ago, the U.S. has flown 787 sorties, while coalition allies have flown 470.
“Aircraft strikes included fixed targets and maneuver forces along the coastline and near the cities of Tripoli, Misrata and Ajdabiya,” according to an e-mail yesterday from Navy Captain Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman.